Beer Turned Out Bitter & Sour

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bnert

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Hello!

Was attempting to brew an IPA/NEIPA for the first time, and it turned out waaaaay different than I was expecting. Instead of slightly sweet w/ grapefruit/citrus hop notes, I have sour + bitter (haze is there though!).

BOM:
- 7.7 Gallons of RO water
- 16oz Cascade Hops
- 6.6 lbs of 2 Row (Great Western 2-row)
- 4.4 lbs of Flaked Oats (bulk from Winco)
- Llallemand Voss Kviek (Dry Yeast)

My Cleaning process before the brew (day before):
1. Soak everything needed on brew day in PBW (3.75 oz in 5 gallons of hot water) for ~30m
2. Soak fermentation vessel in PBW for ~30m
3. Clean vessels for holding water (2, 5 gallon food safe buckets)
4. Soak and scrub wort chiller in 2 gallons of Star San
4a. Bought wort chiller used and was a bit grimy, so let it soak for 4+ hours then scrubbed

My process for this brew (using brew in a bag method):
1. Heat 7.7 gallons up to ~160F (took ~45m).
2. Mash @ 154 for an hour (yes, I hit this target temp).
2a. Stir mash ~15m.
3. Strain grain bag and squeeze out as much wort as possible.
4. Heat to boil (took ~30m).
5. Boil for 30m.
5a. @ 15m, add wort chiller in order to sanitize.
6. At flame out, start to circulate cold water through chiller and add 2oz of hops.
7. Once at 100F, take out wort chiller and dispense wort into fermentation vessel.
8. Add rest of hops (trying to avoid dry hopping in order to not oxidize beer, this is where I think I screwed up)
9. Pitch yeast
10. Shake fermentation vessel (didn't shake it vigorously, as siphoning into fermentation vessel left quite a bit of bubbles on the top, making me think that the wort was plenty oxygenated).

Fermentation:
It was really hard to keep fermentation temperatures up. Where I live, we are in a weird cold spell (usually June is in the 70's and 80's outside and our ambient temperature in the house matches that). I tried to wrap the fermentor in a couple blankets to keep temps up, as I know the yeast likes it hotter. I would guess that I was able to keep the yeast at an average of ~78F. Fermentation went off on the first night, then the next few days activity was gradually less and less. Took one reading at 3 days and gravity was a 1.010. Took another at 6 days and gravity was at 1.010. At this point I thought fermentation was basically done, even though there was a very small amount of activity in the air lock.

Kegging:
Soaked keg in PBW for ~30m and ran PBW through dip tube/beer lines. Soaked keg in Star San for same amount of time, and dispelled sanitize out of beer lines, leaving a ton of foam in the fermentor. At the same time, I also soaked some silicon tubing in Star San to prepare it for transferring beer to keg. I let it soak for about 30m (I did not clean from manufacturer, thought sanitizer would be enough). Once beer was in the keg, I purged the head space and let it sit at 25psi overnight, then the next day had to tweak hosing due to a gas leak. Once I fixed the gas leak (took roughly an hour), I set the gas to 12psi and it has been sitting 3 days at the time of writing.

Tasting:
The beer tastes sour-ish (hard to describe), with a hint of bitterness from the hops. There is no discernible malt flavor, and the beer doesn't have any head retention. Initial pour has a decent head, then it dissipates very shortly after.

A couple notes:
- I wanted a sweeter end product, hence the slightly hotter mash.
- My brew kettle is a converted keg. When transferring work from brew kettle to fermentor, I totally forgot to sanitize the spigot, though I did run a bunch of PBW through the spigot the day before.
- My brew bag was new, and I rinsed it out before using in order to make sure there weren't any manufacturing particles.
- I understand adding hops at yeast pitch is a bit unorthodox. I was trying to rush to get brew day done, and meant to perform step 9 before step 8 (though I am unsure if the outcome would be different).
- Forgot to take an OG reading *facepalm*.


All that to say: does anyone know where something may have gone wrong?

I am thinking it may be in the transfer from brew kettle to wort, and dry hopping before yeast pitch. Please let me know if any clarification is needed on any of the points. I have tried to be thorough, but it is quite a brain dump.
 

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Sam_92

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Would you describe the sour flavor as kind of like an orange peel? I have used voss kveik yeast and gotten very strong orange peel esters.
 
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bnert

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Would you describe the sour flavor as kind of like an orange peel? I have used voss kveik yeast and gotten very strong orange peel esters.
Good question! It is not, there isn't any citrus really. It is more a general sour taste, with some yeast bite (I think) underneath.
 

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What and how much salts(CaCl and CaSO4) did you use? Also that grain bill would need some acid to get to a pH of 5.2 (my preferred pH of lighter beers).
 

Spundit

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Comments on your tasing notes:
Bad head retention- on a beer this young this is not unusual. give that another week and it will likely improve.
no malt flavor- Given the malt bill, I wouldnt expect much flavor so that makes sense. Since you forgot to take an OG we cant rule out poor extraction of sugars during the mash is also contributing. Theoretically your mash ph would have been on the high side and might have had an impact on mash efficiency. I doubt this was a big problem.
Sour Flavor: cascade can be described as sour (grapefruit). If I am reading this right, you added 14oz at the beginning of fermentation? That's a lot.. like a lot lot. I have to assume that's all you can taste. I wonder if you are also getting some hop burn which is often described as astringent (sharp sour with a bit of bitter, like you sucked on a tea bag). Hop burn ussually mellows out with a couple weeks age.

Just For comparison, 6 0z. Is a common "big" dry hop charge.
 
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bnert

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If I read your posting right, this is a very young beer with a ton of hops in it. Let it sit in the keg for another 2 weeks and taste it again. I suspect you are tasting the combination of yeast and hops still in suspension.
Will do, and good to know.
 
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bnert

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What and how much salts(CaCl and CaSO4) did you use? Also that grain bill would need some acid to get to a pH of 5.2 (my preferred pH of lighter beers).
I didn't mess with the water chemistry, just used stock RO water. Haven't had time to learn about how pH affects beers/beer styles, nor funds to get a pH meter.

Is this something you think is important to learn early on?
 
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bnert

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Comments on your tasing notes:
Bad head retention- on a beer this young this is not unusual. give that another week and it will likely improve.
no malt flavor- Given the malt bill, I wouldnt expect much flavor so that makes sense. Since you forgot to take an OG we cant rule out poor extraction of sugars during the mash is also contributing. Theoretically your mash ph would have been on the high side and might have had an impact on mash efficiency. I doubt this was a big problem.
Sour Flavor: cascade can be described as sour (grapefruit). If I am reading this right, you added 14oz at the beginning of fermentation? That's a lot.. like a lot lot. I have to assume that's all you can taste. I wonder if you are also getting some hop burn which is often described as astringent (sharp sour with a bit of bitter, like you sucked on a tea bag). Hop burn ussually mellows out with a couple weeks age.

Just For comparison, 6 0z. Is a common "big" dry hop charge.
Interesting points, thank you!

Given your description of hop burn/astringency, that may be what is going on.

Thanks for the comparison I'll take that into consideration for next brew.
 

Gilbert Spinning Horse

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I think Spundit has pretty much nailed it in his reply mate.
Personally, I dry hop a beer like this with at the most about 7oz and that's with no other hop additions apart from bittering. I really like the combination of Citra, Idaho 7 and Bravo.

I dry hop on day two with 2.8oz Citra/ 2.8oz Idaho 7 and 1.7oz Bravo (its grams where I live). I dry hop on day two because I use a really aggressive kveik (Laerdale) that is done on day three and I want some active fermentation to push out the introduced oxygen. I leave it for another week, 10 days in all, before bottling.
I use 8.8lbs of pale malt and 2.2lbs of flaked oats, mashed at 151F for an hour or so.
If you were going to follow this method you might want to slightly bitter it with some El Dorrado at the beginning of the boil as there are no other kettle hops.

Anyway, that's how I do it.
 

RM-MN

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I didn't mess with the water chemistry, just used stock RO water. Haven't had time to learn about how pH affects beers/beer styles, nor funds to get a pH meter.

Is this something you think is important to learn early on?
The mash need some minerals. RO water has none. Spring water would be a better choice if your tap water is not good.
 

RM-MN

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As a related aside, the poor head retention suggest a young beer too. I have opened bottles at different times during carbonation and found that I had carbonated beer that wouldn't keep a head at all if opened at 24 hours after bottling. That improved with time until at about the 3 week point the heading would be about what was expected.
 
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bnert

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The mash need some minerals. RO water has none. Spring water would be a better choice if your tap water is not good.
Unfortunately, my municipal water has noticeable chlorine additions, hence why I went with RO.

I will definitely read up on mash ph/minerals. Do you have a recommended resource to get started w/ water chemistry?
 
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bnert

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I think Spundit has pretty much nailed it in his reply mate.
Personally, I dry hop a beer like this with at the most about 7oz and that's with no other hop additions apart from bittering. I really like the combination of Citra, Idaho 7 and Bravo.

I dry hop on day two with 2.8oz Citra/ 2.8oz Idaho 7 and 1.7oz Bravo (its grams where I live). I dry hop on day two because I use a really aggressive kveik (Laerdale) that is done on day three and I want some active fermentation to push out the introduced oxygen. I leave it for another week, 10 days in all, before bottling.
I use 8.8lbs of pale malt and 2.2lbs of flaked oats, mashed at 151F for an hour or so.
If you were going to follow this method you might want to slightly bitter it with some El Dorrado at the beginning of the boil as there are no other kettle hops.

Anyway, that's how I do it.
Thanks for the insight!
 

RM-MN

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Unfortunately, my municipal water has noticeable chlorine additions, hence why I went with RO.

I will definitely read up on mash ph/minerals. Do you have a recommended resource to get started w/ water chemistry?
Campden tablets remove chlorine and chloramine from water. They are pretty cheap to start with and you only need 1/4 tablet to treat 5 gallons.
 
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bnert

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Campden tablets remove chlorine and chloramine from water. They are pretty cheap to start with and you only need 1/4 tablet to treat 5 gallons.
That is some great info, thank you. I'll check those out, since my muni does send out a water quality report regularly, it may help.
 
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bnert

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To everyone on this thread, thank you so much for you input! Much appreciated for your willingness to help a newbie out.
 
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bnert

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Actually I was thinking the other way. You should have used star-san on everything beyond the boil kettle. Hoses, FV and anything that comes in contact with the wort and subsequent beer.
Yes, I did that. Even before boil, everything that was touching the wort went through star san first (I've had batches go bad, so was a bit paranoid for this brew).
 

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I believe that 50-150 ppm's of calcium and a pH of 5.2 for yellow beers and 5.4-5.5 for black beers give me the best in the shortest amount of conditioning time. In the Water book there is a chart that gives mineral values for different styles and a chart for the ppm's of said minerals in grams per gallon. That's what I use. If not using RO water you need the profile of the water and grain bill to find the residual alkalinity so you can add the acid for a proper pH.
 

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